Think about the life of the original 12 disciples. For three years they had the privilege of traveling the countryside with Jesus of Nazareth as one of His merry men. As a part of this privilege, they got to hear every sermon He ever taught, witness nearly every miracle He ever performed, and had Jesus provide the “director’s cut” commentary to His ministry around the campfire at night. Pretty cool, right?
Now, in light of all that the 12 witnessed, it should not surprise us that the original 12 were bullish on His divinity. John writes in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Peter calls Jesus, “Our God and Savior” in 2 Peter 1:1. Clearly, these men were convinced of Jesus divinity. However, when we really think of the experience of the 12, it should amaze us that they were so solid on His divinity. After all, they saw up close His humanity as well:
- They saw Jesus hungry. Imagine that – the God of the Universe weak after a long walk because His blood sugar had dropped!
- They saw Jesus tired. Imagine watching God become unresponsive as he dozes off to sleep after a long day.
- They had seen Jesus bleed and die a physical death. Watching the Eternal One die had to be a mind blowing experience.
- They had seen Him live large portions of His life in obscurity. For 30 years, Jesus was Joe and Mary’s boy . . . a carpenter’s apprentice.
They had seen Him live a very human life. Reflecting on all that the disciples saw makes their statements of divinity that much more powerful. They would have had a strong inclination to call Jesus merely a man, yet they believed in His divinity. Seeing His empty tomb and shaking His nail scarred (yet risen) hand will do that to you!
If the disciples were predisposed to see Jesus as merely a man, people who have been raised in Christian churches are predisposed to see Jesus merely as God. I say that because we are people who have always related to Jesus as Someone we have never seen with our eyes. We have related to Jesus as a part of the unseen Trinity. His Words are written in red, and His pronouns are always capitalized. For long-time Christians, the divinity of Jesus is something we take for granted . . . but in understanding this, we sometimes forget His humanity as well.
In Luke 3:23-38, the human genealogy of Jesus is listed. I think (in part) this genealogy is given in great detail to help those of us who would read this Gospel two millennia later to remember that though Jesus IS 100% God, He is also 100% human. Though He could calm the raging sea by raising His hand, His hand could be pierced by a driven nail causing blood to gush forth. Though He could feed 5,000 with a few fish and loaves, He had a belly button reminding all that for a long season He was dependent upon His mother for nourishment.
At Christmas time, we have the perfect opportunity to marvel at the mystery of the God-man. Since God became man, then God can be known by men. Since God became man then God can die in the place of man, paying the ransom price our sin deserved. Since God became man, we have reason to sing this Christmas.